AGE: 44 WORKED AS: Material specialist and team leader
I was at UTEC for 19 years, 15 as a material specialist. I was over being in the manufacturing work. I wanted to switch gears, so that’s when I started going to school. I didn’t do it because of the plant closing. I didn’t see that coming. When the housing market collapsed and GM was laying off big-time, we were still standing. I never would have imagined in a million years UTEC would close, especially in Huntington, because we always put out good products.
I went to work, took care of a family, and did online classes. It was not easy. I got an associate’s degree in health information technology, then a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in healthcare administration.
They asked me to go to Mexico and train. I declined. They weren’t offering any incentives for me to teach anybody to do my job. So, they brought Mexican workers to the plant – and that was kind of a slap in our faces. But it’s not the people in Mexico’s fault. They’re just trying to survive and eat too.
UTEC paid for my schooling, I thank them for that. I thank them that I was able to provide for my family, keep food on the table. But we made them millions and billions of dollars. How much more do you need? I simply don’t understand it. We did everything we were supposed to do. I guess the top just wants more and more.
I tell anybody: get your education now. Because going to work and taking care of the family and being a full-time student, I lost a lot of sleep. Get it done so you won’t have that struggle.